A delegation of the Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) carried out an evaluation visit to Belarus from 18 to 22 April 2016. The visit was organised in the context of the first round of evaluation of the implementation by Belarus of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.
During the visit, the GRETA delegation met the Minister of Internal Affairs, Mr Igor Shunevich, as well as officials from the following ministries and public bodies: the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the General Prosecutor’s Office, the Investigative Committee, and the State Frontier Committee. Further, the delegation visited the international training centre on migration and combating trafficking in human beings of the Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus.
In addition to holding meetings in Minsk, the delegation travelled to Brest and Mogilev where it met members of the regional multi-disciplinary groups for preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and reintegrating victims, including representatives of the regional authorities, social and health protection departments, law enforcement agencies, and civil society organisations.
Separate meetings were held with representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), lawyers and officials from the local offices of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
In the course of the visit, the GRETA delegation visited a specialised shelter for victims of human trafficking run by the IOM. It also visited crisis rooms in Brest, Minsk and Mogilev which can accommodate victims of domestic violence as well as victims of human trafficking. Further, it visited a socio-pedagogical centre with a shelter for child victims of domestic violence and other forms of abuse in Minsk, as well as a child-friendly room for interviews with child victims in Mogilev.
The GRETA delegation also visited the premises of hotlines for preventing human trafficking and assisting victims, operated by NGOs in Brest and Minsk.
The visit was carried out by Ms Kateryna Levchenko and Mr Helmut Sax, members of GRETA, who were accompanied by Ms Petya Nestorova, Executive Secretary of the Convention, and Mr David Dolidze of the Secretariat of the Convention.
Following the visit, GRETA will prepare a draft report which will be sent to the Belarusian authorities for comments. GRETA will subsequently adopt a final report which will be made public.